1,000 acres of canals for nature reserves

Published: Thursday, 08 June 2017

THE Canal & River Trust has announced it is protecting 988 acres of canals as waterway nature reserves to improve canal habitat 'making special places for nature'.

It has this week launched a 12 months nature project to improve vulnerable wildlife habitats across 10 key sites totalling 988 acres—a combined area greater than the City of London.

coir rolls photo2Benefit otters

The ‘Making Special Places for Nature’ project, it states, spans canals in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Greater Manchester, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Berkshire and mid Wales. It will benefit water shrews, voles, otters, bats, dragonflies and other rare fauna and flora.

What the anglers will say about introducing otters to the canals should be interesting, as they are great fish predators, and can decimate fish stocks.

Mammoth task

The Trust is now appealing to volunteers to join it in what it describes as a mammoth task and hopes to encourage many residents, particularly young people, to roll up their sleeves and get involved in improving their own local nature reserve.

EcologistsCoirCanal & River Trust Ecologist Stuart Moodie enthused:

"The Eurasian water shrew and white clawed crayfish are among a wide range of indigenous species which need an extra helping hand. Their natural habitats are threatened by run off from agricultural fertilisers and invasive plants and animals. Increasing the growth of aquatic plants helps encourage insects and invertebrates which in turn promotes healthy populations of fish and small mammals. Biodiversity is the key to a flourishing waterway.

The boater

But what of its core responsibility—the boater?  Who will be met with endless acres of 'sausages' lining the banks, and further stretches fenced-off to protect 'nature', leaving even less mooring space, and eventually, as the picture shows, spikes left sticking up in the waterways to damage boats.